One of the great hypocrisies of our time is the number of pro-abortion senators and congressmen who also claim to be Roman Catholic. Being pro-abortion and Roman Catholic is like being pro-LGBTQ rights and Muslim. Both sets are a contradiction of terms. Thankfully, the bishop of Senator Dick Durbin’s (D-Ill.) diocese recognizes this contradiction of terms and is denying the senator communion until he repents of his grave sin.
Senator Durbin’s office has yet to comment on the matter, but his views on abortion are well known. Last year, Durbin insisted in a CNN interview that Democrats who are personally pro-life must be “prepared to back the law, Roe vs. Wade, prepared to back women’s rights as we’ve defined them under the law.” Continuing, the senator asserted, “I am committed to women’s rights under the law, reproductive rights certainly, and our party is. We’ve made that part of our platform and position for a long, long time.”
Most recently, Senator Durbin voted to deny babies who are at least twenty weeks old their right to life. That vote is what prompted Bishop Thomas John Paprocki to issue the following statement:
Fourteen Catholic senators voted against the bill that would have prohibited abortions starting at 20 weeks after fertilization, including Sen. Richard Durbin, whose residence is in the Diocese of Springfield in Illinois. In April 2004, Sen. Durbin’s pastor, then Msgr. Kevin Vann (now Bishop Kevin Vann of Orange, CA), said that he would be reticent to give Sen. Durbin Holy Communion because his pro-abortion position put him outside of communion or unity with the Church’s teachings on life. My predecessor, now Archbishop George Lucas of Omaha, said that he would support that decision. I have continued that position.
Continuing the press release, Bishop Paprocki explains:
Canon 915 of the Catholic Church’s Code of Canon Law states that those “who obstinately persist in manifest grave sin are not to be admitted to Holy Communion.” In our 2004 Statement on Catholics in Political Life, the USCCB said, “Failing to protect the lives of innocent and defenseless members of the human race is to sin against justice. Those who formulate law therefore have an obligation in conscience to work toward correcting morally defective laws, lest they be guilty of cooperating in evil and in sinning against the common good.” Because his voting record in support of abortion over many years constitutes “obstinate persistence in manifest grave sin,” the determination continues that Sen. Durbin is not to be admitted to Holy Communion until he repents of this sin. This provision is intended not to punish, but to bring about a change of heart. Sen. Durbin was once pro-life. I sincerely pray that he will repent and return to being pro-life.
While we can (and should) pray that Senator Durbin will heed the bishop’s words and repent, withholding communion is probably going to be to no avail. Senator Durbin has consistently demonstrated during his time in office that he’s more beholden to power and the Democratic Party than he is to the teachings of his own professed religion.